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James McLeod

He was born in Utica, New York.
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Buffalo City Court Judge James A. W. McLeod, a native of Utica, New York, is the great nephew of educator, Mary McLeod Bethune. He attended Herkimer Community College, where he earned an A.A. Degree. He graduated from State University College at Fredonia and then attended the University at Buffalo Law School, where he earned his J.D. Degree.

He was admitted to the New York State Bar in March 1975. Subsequently, he was also admitted to the Federal District Court, Western New York District of New York; the Federal District Court, Northern District of New York and the Federal District Court, Court of Appeals in 1976.

Judge McLeod began his legal career by becoming the second African American attorney in Buffalo history to be hired as an associate attorney with a major law firm (the then firm of Doyle, Diebold, Bermingham, Gorman and Brown. Having worked as a defense attorney involved in major cases, he was selected by Supreme Court Justice Samuel L. Green to become the first African American â?? outside of New York City â?? to serve as a confidential law clerk.

Judge McLeodâ??s career continued with his becoming the first and only African American attorney to head the Buffalo/Erie County Legal Aid Bureauâ??s Public Defender Office; as well as the first and only African American to serve as Erie Countyâ??s Second Assistant County Attorney. His past or present legal affiliations include the Minority Bar Association of Western New York, Western New York Thurgood Marshall Organization, New York State Bar Association and the Erie County Bar Association where he was the first and only African American to serve as the Association Treasurer.

Judge McLeodâ??s community affiliations include: a founding member of the Black Leadership Forum, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, NAACP, Buffalo Urban League, Board of the Humboldt-FerryYMCA and Kaleida Health Board. He has lectured for the New York Sate Bar Association Continuing Legal Education Program, as well as schools and community groups. A proud member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Judge McLeod is the recent recipient of the Humboldt Ferry Branch YMCA Volunteer of the Year Award, and the prestigious 2001 Buffalo Branch NAACP Medgar Evers Award. He is a member of Greater Refuge Temple.

Judge McLeod is the proud father of twin daughters and a son.